Adios Legacy Admissions

In the wake of the SCOTUS decision banning affirmative action, legacy and donor admissions have come into the crosshairs from a wide range of sources varying from civil rights groups to Justice Gorsuch.

Miami is one of the public universities that takes it into consideration (interestingly OSU does not) according to this list. Not to get into the politics of affirmative action, but what are people’s thoughts on Miami potentially having to abandon legacy admissions?


Almost all private colleges and universities help sustain themselves through legacy admissions.looks like a real mix among public institutions, with many of the better ones considering it.

FWIW - i’ve actually been on 144 of these campuses. Visiting campuses has been a hobby since my dad started taking me to see them when I was a kid. There are a number of colleges not on the list that I’ve visited, as well - from Catawba and Francis Marion to Idaho State and UA Fairbanks.

I attended four but only graduated from one. Not a legacy anywhere, as I was the first in my immediate family to attend college.

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You visit college campuses like I visit liquor stores.


“The admission rate for Harvard legacies is over five times that of non-legacies”


Sounds good to me.


That’s a significant part of why Harvard’s endowment is $50 billion and a significant factor in assuring that any student admitted to Harvard with family income less than $85,000 a year pays nothing to attend.

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When you go to Harvard, you’re not getting a Harvard degree. You’re getting your kid a Harvard degree.

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I’m not sure I have a big opinion one way or another on this topic, but I’d hypothesize children of Harvard grads are well educated themselves and set up much better for admission into Ivy league universities when compared to non-legacies. I’d be interested in seeing average GPA and standardized test scores between the two groups rather than just jump to an immediate assumption one way or another. Are there enough subpar legacies getting in to warrant the conversation growing to the size it has?


I haven’t seen it broken out by group, but iirc a study found that 75% of white Harvard students who are either legacies, children of donors, children of faculty/staff, or athletes would not have made it in on merit alone, and those groups account for almost half of the white students at Harvard.


Do children of employees get preference for admission? Is that common? I know one very well known midwestern high profile private school does. There is angst there on the number of competitive slots it takes up over and above any subsidized expenses.

Per the article below, about 15% of Harvard undergrads are athletes with a few schools that have higher percentages. That’s a lot of slots (over 1000) and non-athletic scholarships that are allocated to students who are no academic slouches, but would be way less likely to get in without sports.

Harvard employees’ kids get preferential admission, but (supposedly, this is all kind of inferred from stats rather than officially broadcast as policy) not as high as legacies. (Although I suppose if you’re a legacy and an employee’s kid, that seals the deal for you.)

Just looked it up and Harvard has 40 varsity sports. That includes fencing, golf, lacrosse, sailing, skiing, squash, and four separate rowing teams.

Elite colleges tend to have a lot of low participation, high barrier to entry sports as a backdoor entry point for rich kids with good but not great academic records. The only mistake the parents made during that athletics admission scandal was paying coaches to put their kid on the team rather than paying the university to sponsor the sport and buying their kid lessons.

As long as they pay tuition, but frankly, Legacy Admissions are a “First World” problem. Affordability and relevancy are the issues higher education needs to address.


So true.

I think you’re on to something. My experience in the admissions process in Ivy and Little Ivy tells me most of the legacy applicants come academically well-prepared. A few are probably just “bought in” through significant donations. I believe a significant percentage of those don’t necessarily thrive. Some wash out or quit on their own.

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They’re called “Gentlemen C’s” and said students go onto healthy financially successful lifestyles

As the first person in my family to graduate college and without children, I don’t have a problem with it.
Are they eliminating legacy admissions but does that still mean that they are eliminating donor admissions? “We’re sorry there are so many qualified candidates and you were just below the threshold” to the average legacy but what about the one who’s parents just donated $25K to the Lewis Place remodeling fund?

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Yet at Harvard they do worse academically than affirmative action admits. As for after college, I’m sure that having a father who’s a partner at Wachtell or a Congressman gives them a boost, but while they’re at Harvard, they underperform.

And the Harvard affirmative action admits, aren’t kids with Kent State stats. They’re kids with Middlebury or Michigan stats. The notion that they’re coming in academically unprepared is nonsense.